By Tanis Helliwell
When my mother died a while ago, I was left with a feeling of celebration that Mom left peacefully and quickly and without fuss, just the way she led her life. All those who knew Mom saw her as a person of great humour, always ready to laugh, and as a woman of compassion, always seeing and bringing out the best in others. She was a server in this life who sought ways to help others and Mom always said that this was her purpose.
And Mom found many ways to serve. One of her big loves was retail and her first job was in her Aunt Minnie’s hardware store. When my father Eric came along they started a Mom and Pop hardware store together. They were true partners, both loving life mates and work mates. Dad ordered for the hardware section of their store and Mom ordered for the gift-ware and each respected each other’s expertise.
One email that we received after Mom’s passing was from a former employee of Mom and Dad’s and it really captures Mom’s concern for others at work. Valerie White writes, “ It is with sadness that I read in today’s paper of your mother’s passing. About 40 years ago, when I was a very shy 13 year old, Mrs. Helliwell gave me my first “real” job. She hired me to tidy and dust the shelves in the hardware store each Saturday. I have such pleasant memories of her gentle manner, warm smile and positive attitude. She helped me to build my confidence and self esteem and I am grateful for that.”
Valerie’s words echo all of those we have received from people who knew Mom. I can honestly say she had no enemies in the world, which is a rare thing these days. Mom always made everyone, who came to the store, comfortable and there was only one thing that she didn’t like to do – THE BOOKS.
My brother Mark and I will always remember when the tax man came after Mom had received repeated warnings about the several years that she had failed to file her income tax. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he asked to see the books and Mom brought out shoe boxes and bags full of register tapes—none in any order whatsoever. I’d like to make it clear that Mom was not a tax evader, she just hadn’t gotten around to it.
This was a common theme in her life. If she didn’t want to do something she’d procrastinate and just never get to it. Mom wouldn’t get around to cleaning the house, definitely at the bottom of her priorities, but she always had time for people dropping in for a chat, or for talking with a lonely person on the phone, or for taking meals on wheels to seniors even when she herself was in her 80’s.
And Mom often didn’t get around to having her hair permed or buying new clothes, but she had time to do a night shift’s as a volunteer for the distress centre and to help many people to die with peace and dignity.
She didn’t get around to retirement because life wouldn’t let her retire. She worked at a paint and wallpaper store well into her 70’s and came on seven tours of sacred sites of the world where she did what she did best. Showed interest in others and made them feel welcome. Many times people would say that they wished they’d had a relationship with their Mom like the one that my brother and I enjoyed. I’m sure that through Mom’s example many people bettered their relationships with their parents.
Although for years I urged Mom to write her life story so we’d remember our family history—well she just never got around to it. She was too busy living her life every day. In our last conversation just before her peaceful passing, she mentioned her job at the senior centre where she greeted each person and gave them their name tag when they arrived in the morning. As she said, “People like you to remember their names.” Even in her 89th year she was still serving. So let’s take a moment to celebrate Margaret Helliwell, one wonderful human being, who has enriched the lives of all who knew her, and who knew how to get around to the important things in life.
I would like to leave you with the poem Mom wanted us to remember her by. Perhaps, these words will be a comfort to you if you also have lost a loved one.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn’s rain,
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
–Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905 – 2004)
Tanis Helliwell, a mystic in the modern world, has brought spiritual consciousness into the mainstream for over 30 years. Since childhood, she has seen and heard elementals, angels, and master teachers in higher dimensions. Tanis is the founder of the International Institute for Transformation (IIT), which offers programs to assist individuals to become conscious creators to work with the spiritual laws that govern our world.
Tanis is the author of Summer with the Leprechauns, Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns, Embraced by Love, Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose, Decoding Your Destiny and Take Your Soul to Work.
For information on our courses and meditation retreats please visit www. iitransform.com